Nuclear Community Remembrance Project

Project Organisation: Nuclear Community Charity Fund
Project Cost: £6,000

Leeds Memorial
The nuclear test memorial at Leeds Minster with test veteran Brian Gay and his wife

Project Activities
Remembrance is a crucial part of developing and raising wellbeing amongst both veterans and their survivors. Around the United Kingdom there are some 14 memorials to British Nuclear Test Veterans, they serve as focal points for remembrance by veterans, their spouses and their offspring.

The primary objective was the creation and installation of two stone benches depicting information about the test sites used by Britain to the British Nuclear Testing Memorial sited at the National Memorial Arboretum. The dedication of these was to coincide with the 2016 National Atomic Veterans Day, creating an event to draw together members of the nuclear survivor community from across the country increasing comradeship and wellbeing.

British Nuclear Test Veterans their families and supporters.

After drawing together all the necessary elements to create and install the benches at the National Memorial Arboretum the project ran into a major issue in the form of a new policy decision by the Trustees of the NMA to impose a complete restriction on permanent benches. We entered into negotiations with the NMA management to try and resolve the situation and this proved to be a very protracted process. 

Revision of the Project
The National Atomic Veterans Awareness Day event on the 3rd of October 2017 was rapidly approaching and it became clear that there would not be time to make any changes to the National Memorial during that year. 

The nuclear test memorial at Manchester had been moved during the installation of the cities tram network and we were approached by Manchester Council regarding the possibility of reinstalling the memorial and conducting a remembrance and rededication event. 

Because Phase II of the AVF had been approved by this time, it was decided to deliver the Manchester event from this funding to cover NAVAD 2017 and defer the NMA activity to the following year.

Project Outcomes
Negotiations with the NMA reached a successful conclusion with the decision to abandon the bench concept as the vehicle to carry the detail of British Testing sites in favour of actually extending the memorial with two new stones accommodating the information.

BH Associates worked with the contractors, Natural Cut Stone to create the new memorial and obtain final planning approval. This was achieved and the extensions to the memorial were created and installed in time for NAVAD 2018.

An unveiling and rededication ceremony was conducted by the Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling, Chaplain of the BNTVA. Over 100 members of the British Nuclear Test Community attended the event and an afternoon tea was provided.

The development at the NMA has been the culmination of six years of work aimed not only at creating an appropriate remembrance memorial as a fitting tribute to those veterans who served at British Nuclear Tests but also as an educational piece to tell the story of our community to over 300,000 guests that visit the NMA every year.

Manchester Memorial
The nuclear test memorial at Manchester
NMA New memorial
A wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum

Further Activities
This project was developed into the Remembrance Project within the AVF Phase II bid. The project aims to restore and re-dedicate all NTV memorials across the country, a service not provided by central government or local councils although some other charitable support may be available for us to use at some of the memorial sites. Additionally, each rededication event will be delivered to raise awareness of the nuclear community and the story of the veterans within the local area, Remembrance is a key cathartic process increasing wellbeing amongst both veterans and their families. The memorials are also to be linked in a virtual museum reinforcing the presence of the nuclear community to the wider population.

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